After the Flint water crisis came to light, the safety of drinking water throughout the country has become a heated discussion across the nation, leaving many Americans incredibly concerned. This worry has once again surfaced as Michigan officials declare a state of emergency in Kalamazoo County following the discovery of a toxin in the tap water!
It’s a story that has horrified people across the nation, as the media revealed the disaster in the city of Flint, Michigan. When the city made the switch to the use the Flint River, it’s drinking water source, they were looking to save money. However, when improper treatment led to excessive lead levels in the city’s drinking water, risking the health and well-being of over 100,000 residents, who would be held accountable. The problem was made worse as political decisions, studies, and the area’s infrastructure were called into question. In fact, while reports have been made that the water has been at ‘acceptable levels’ since 2017, residences are still encouraged to use bottled or filtered water as the replacement of all lead pipes in the city’s water system isn’t expected to be completed until 2020!
Now, another area of the state is engaged in its own battle against water contamination, as tests confirm that drinking water in the area contains dangerously high levels of Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAs). These man-made chemicals are often contained in the packaging of food, such as pizza boxes, as well as in non-stick cookware, paints, firefighting foams and cleaning products. However, when we are exposed to these chemicals in larger quantities, they can lead to serious health concerns.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that exposure to high levels of PFAs over an extended period of time have been associated with liver and kidney damage, reproductive and developmental concerns, problems with the immune system and an increased risk of cancer.
The EPA recommends that the level of PFAs in our drinking water should not exceed 70 parts for trillion for it to be concerned safe for consumption, however tests on the water supply for Parchment and Cooper Township, two small communities located near Kalamazoo, Michigan, revealed shocking results with the level of PFAs reported at 1,587 parts per trillion!
In response to these concerning results, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has declared a state of emergency for the two townships. “This declaration will allow the state to supply additional resources to help with response efforts and ensure the health and safety of residents in Parchment and Cooper township,” Calley declared in a statement. He is currently acting as governor while Gov. Rick Snyder is out of state. He went on to explain to the media that “this helps make sure that every resource that is possible is on the table and that we can work as expeditiously together as we possibly can.”
For residents of the area, water has been made available through a water distribution point at Parchment High School. Meanwhile, crews are working hard in the area to flush the water lines for both communities in order to clear the contamination. They do warn that water may appear discolored as sediment is stirred up throughout the process. Officials remind local residents not to consume the water during this time.
Image via Cracked